Title - 'Friday'
Artist - Monkey House
For those not in the know, Monkey House is the name of a musical group founded by Don Breithaupt, a Canadian-born pianist, singer/songwriter, composer, arranger, producer and author.
Indeed, the group got its name from a 1970 book by Kurt Vonnegut.
Sophisticated musicianship, imaginative lyrics, and a flair for melody are signatures of the Monkey House sound - a sound that has earned the group serious critical acclaim, peer respect, and a steadily expanding international following.
Those characteristics are again evident on their fifth full-length album, the quite brilliant Friday (out now via Alma Records / Universal) - and album that has rocketed to my #1 Top Pick of 2019!
1. '10,000 Hours'
2. 'Nine O'clock Friday'
4. 'Welcome To the Rest Of The World'
5. 'Book Of Liars'
6. 'The Jazz Life'
7. 'I'll Drive, You Chill'
8. 'Say It For The Last Time'
9. 'When The Mud Men Come'
10. 'Because You'
12. 'Island Off The Coast Of America'
Having just celebrated the notable milestone of 25 years of playing together - which has also meant that their musical core members have remained solid too re: singer/songwriter/keyboardist Don Breithaupt, drummer Mark Kelso, bassist Pat Kilbride, and guitarist Justin Abedin - the new album also features some notable guests.
Guitarist Drew Zingg (Boz Scaggs) and trumpeter Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan) have guested on previous albums and make joyous contributions here, as does Franšois D'Amours (Gino Vannelli), and Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri.
Ground Up artist Lucy Woodward (Rod Stewart) adds background vocals throughout, while famed vocal quartet The Manhattan Transfer add their magic to the choruses of 'The Jazz Life.'
Beginning with the bright and brisk '10,000 Hours' they back that up with both the lo-fi dream state beauty 'Nine O'clock Friday' and then the funky, finger-snappin' 'Shotgun.'
Next up is the free flowing sax work of 'Welcome To the Rest Of The World' which is followed by the slo' roll of 'Book Of Liars,' the aforementioned 'The Jazz Life' featuring the unmistakable harmonies of Manhattan Transfer, and then comes the mid-tempo duo of 'I'll Drive, You Chill' and 'Say It For The Last Time.'
'When The Mud Men Come' showcases nice vocal touches from Breithaupt and that's backed by the late night jazz club feel of 'Because You,' with the album rounding out harmonized 'Brainyard' and the expectedly laid back 'Island Off The Coast Of America.'
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